The Caliente Column

La Sombra: Mas Que Todo
By Doug Shannon (tmaxgroup@yahoo.com)

What's La Sombra been up to since "Caliente Dulce Amor" was released in
spring 1994?

*They suffered a bus accident in Mexico just after the album was released
but resumed their tour schedule by summer 1994.

*Gavino Guerrero left the group in fall 1994 to pursue a solo career and
keyboardist Cruz Martinez stopped touring with the group, though he
continues to help them with song arrangements.

*The group parted with FonoVisa and signed with EMI Latin in spring 1995.
They also changed management companies.

*And most importantly for fans, they've released the long-awaited album
"Mas Que Todo," under the name "La Sombra de Tony Guerrero."

Although La Sombra's been recording albums for 12 years, they still seem
to draw the most youthful crowds to their dances, a phenomenon Tony tried
to explain.

"I can't say the band members are still young, but they still look pretty
young. And if we change musicians, we look for somebody young. We also do a
lot of benefits to raise money for schools," he said.

Tony added that they like it when their music is noticed by the older crowd,
too.

La Sombra, which moved from Chicago to Corpus Christi in 1989, may have to
broaden its fan base to regain the superstardom it attained in the early
90s with albums like "Good Boys Wear White!" and "Porque Te Quiero."
Tony said he hopes the group can return to its chart-topping ways.

"We're working on it," he said. "Things have changed a little bit, but
we're not giving up. There are groups that have had a great big fall, and
now they're back on top again. We figure it can happen to anybody."

Tony said he tried to bring a little bit of the group's older sound into
the new album.

"We made the arrangements on the rancheras more jazzy than what we had
done in the past five years," he said.

Rancheras like "Dame Una Razon" and "Te Deje" feature unexpected chord
changes and memorable accordion and sax riffs.

Aside from Juan Sifuentes' "Es Amor" and Eva Torres' "Se Acabo El Amor,"
all of the album's songs were written by Tony or people close to him, like
his sister, Maria Luisa G. Ramirez; his brother and sister-in-law, Gavino
and Gina Guerrero; his girlfriend, Irene Govea; and her father, Raul Govea.

"Irene just started writing lyrics out of nowhere and I started putting
melodies to them," he said.

Irene wrote the lyrics for "Dame Una Razon," the album's third single,
and "Pense Que Tu Eras," the first single.

The most unusual track on "Mas Que Todo" is "Baila, Baila, Bailala," a
song some fans have called a "Tejano quebradita." Tony said he likes the
banda rhythm, but he's not sure if it will ever catch on in Texas.

Banda is popular in Mexico, but Tony said La Sombra was unable to tour
Mexico in 1995 because the group was changing record labels.

Now that La Sombra has a recording contract, the only obstacles that
stand in the way of a Mexico tour are customs officers and memories of
the 1994 bus accident. But those challenges can be overcome, Tony said.

For one thing, "It's never taken us more than two days to get our
equipment across the border," he said.

And as for the possibility of an accident, "The roads in Mexico are
pretty bad," he said. "But there's a God, and if an accident is meant
to happen, it'll happen anywhere."

Besides Tony, La Sombra is Jesse Huerta, drums; Bobby Rios, bajo;
Mark Anthony, keyboards; Alex "Pretty Boy" Ramirez, accordion and
keyboards; and Eric Flores, sax.